September 08, 2009

How Can I Create and Print Polaroid-Style Photos?

By Databazaar Blog

PrinTip: Three Options for Creating and Printing Polaroid-Style Photos

Some technologies die only to resurface again and retake the world by storm. Take Polaroids for example. Even kids who have never even shaken a Polaroid photo to life know about them. They've gone from mainstream to nowheresville to hipster accessory. Fortunately, if you want to print some Polaroids, you need not hunt for an antique on eBay or overpay for one at Urban Outfitters. Instead, you can choose from three print-it-yourself options, none of which require shaking.

The Difficult, High-Quality Method: Use's Tutorial

Design blog Hongkiat's tutorial, Create A Polaroid Effect Of Your Photo, requires a copy of Photoshop and contains nine steps. If you're comfortable with layers, opacity, the Lasso Tool, and other Photoshopisms, you'll end up with a high-quality file suitable for printing. Otherwise, keep reading.

The Easy, Low-Quality Method: Use RollipDBZ-730-PT-Rollip500

Several Web sites enable you to upload a photo, add a caption, and create a Polaroid-like image. We used a photo taken at Yankee Stadium on August 21, 2009 to test three services — Rollip,, and

We liked Rollip the best for several reasons. It enables you to select from several effects Polaroid users would recognize such as soft focus, dark, and overexposure. Rollip also offers a choice of fonts for the caption and provides a download link when it finishes processing your request. You can see our Rollip photo at the top right of this article offers a rotation effect that we found useless because it rotates both the photo and the frame instead of just the photo. Also, the font it uses is hard to read (see our sample below our Rollip photo). is designed to create Polaroids for Facebook and other social networks. Unfortunately, they're too small for printing.

Those of you who prefer software may want to try Poladroid, currently a free download for Mac and Windows. We didn't try it, but apparently Justin Timberlake likes it (we're guessing he uses a Mac).DBZ-730-PT-Instant500

The Expensive, High-Quality Method: Buy a ZINK-Based Printer or Camera

As you may recall from our previous coverage, ZINK developed a zero-ink printing technology in an effort to bring the Polaroid experience into the digital age and at much higher quality. ZINK doesn't make any products, but instead licenses its technology.

Currently, you can purchase ZINK-based products from Dell, Takara TOMY, and Polaroid (not the old Polaroid, but a new company that bought the name). If you want a ZINK-based printer, look at the Dell Wasabi PZ310, Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer (read our coverage), and Sony Picture Station DPP-FP67 (read our coverage). If you prefer a camera like the Polaroids of old, check out the the Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera, which also functions as a printer. The printers range from $50 to $120 (shop around); the camera sells for about $200.

Just think — if Polaroids can make a comeback, how about eight track tapes? Then again, maybe some technologies have died for good.

About PrinTips
Sometimes useful, sometimes fun, and always interesting, PrinTips enable you to get more out of your ink jet or laser printer. That said, we don't profess to have a monopoly on printer tips so if you have anything to add, please do so below.

Article Filed Under: Dell Printers PrinTips Software Sony

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